Thursday, May 30, 2013

Waking up to the power of dreams.

I have a tiny new venture with a very big dream.

Dream Journals
Years ago I came upon an old Native American recipe for a Dream Pillow, a blend of herbs put into a cotton bag and kept on or near your pillow at night.  The aromatic and energetic healing properties of the ingredients are believed to open up the dreaming state.  I really wanted to make one for myself.

In Ancient Greece dream hospitals were considered sacred temples where Priest-Physicians would administer to people seeking dream therapy for physical, psychological or spiritual ailments.  The patients could receive a combination of physical, herbal and spiritual medicine to prepare them for a dream visit from the gentle god of healing, Asklepios.

For 5000 years Chinese medicine has understood the relationship between dreams, illness and wellbeing, and today there are still any indigenous cultures and shamanic traditions working with dreaming as a source of wisdom and healing.

I had worked for years with dreams, not just mine but those of my clients; I know how important they are as a window into the interior world. When our dreams are blocked, our spirit hurts, creating stress and anguish.  Dreaming helps to process complex emotions and to lower stress and anxietyI wanted to find ways to work more consciously with this deep part of the creative mind, to help access dreams more readily and harness the power of a hidden but vital resource.

Toward the end of last year I finally managed to source the organic, ethically harvested herbs I needed for the blend, I learnt to sew, found some lovely fabric in my favourite shop and set to.

Dream Pillows
The first month with my Dream Pillow I slept deeper than I have ever done before.  It was like I had fallen into a deep hidden space within myself.  Although my dreams weren't amazing, and I wasn't exactly experiencing altered states or time traveling, I did feel a deep level of comfort and welcome from the aroma of the herbs and every night  was like was being tucked into a secret and mysterious state of consciousness.  I became much more aware of the dream space I was falling into.

'Dreaming isn't just what happens during sleep; dreaming is waking up to sources of guidance, healing and creativity beyond the reach of the everyday mind.' Robert Moss

Dreams are a hidden gateway to the soul.  Lack of sleep is a problem, but a lack of dreams - a disaster.  Dreams work on many levels to help us manifest our highest potential - if we know how to connect with them and work with them.  I began to see that the pillows could be a gentle way to help people have easier access to their inner world, to understand the process they are going through and harness the wisdom, creativity and healing resources that are held in the unconscious mind.

Ever the willing guinea pigs,  I made some for my family and they started to report back about deep sleep and interesting dreams.   I then made some for a wider circle of family and friends and when I had my Women's Christmas party the lovely women were each given a Dream Pillow along with bottles of Sleep Mist I had made - a spray of Rosewater and essential oils to 'clear' the room and create a calm space for dreaming.

Sleep Mist
A group of us have since been meeting each month in a Dream Circle, sharing and paying witness to each other's dreams.  Whilst it is hard to quantify the shift, I know for myself that I have started to access not just deeper levels of creativity but also the confidence to explore this part of myself and to give it true expression.

Over the past year many Dream Pillows have gone far and wide into the world.  I see an imaginary world map with lighted candles indicating the places where dreamers are waking up to the power of dreaming.  Some have found them a great aid when travelling - a little bit of home on a plane or in a hotel room.  Children of divorced parents have been given two Dream Pillows - one for each bed - enjoying a comforting aroma of 'home' wherever bedtime is.

Then people started asking if they could buy them for the teenager stressed with exams, as a comfort for the sick grandparent, for a heartbroken friend, to support an exhausted carer, for a child at boarding school,  a loved one who was struggling to cope with life.  Some gave them as gifts to friends so that together they could begin explore the dream world.  So many lovely gifts were sent out to people - a wonderful, aromatic gesture of love and care that moved between the waking and dreaming world.  It felt amazing to be part of this gentle revolution!

I realised this movement could also be part of something even bigger - something that helped other people's dreams come true - and The Dream Apothecary was born.

Along with some lovely friends we're making products and donating a percentage of the proceeds to projects that help support women and children around the world.   I love the idea that each time someone lays their head down to sleep next to a Dream Pillow they become part of a great Dream Weave and are helping to make many more dreams to come true.

Like I said, its a tiny little venture with a very big dream.

May you, too, have Sweet Dreams.

Dream Product photos by Will Millar

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